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Amidst Puccini at Opera Holland Park

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Drawing at Opera Holland Park during rehearsals
Drawing at Opera Holland Park during rehearsals
 


I cannot forget this amazing summer at Opera Holland Park where I followed the conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren, a rising star in the opera industry, alongside the City of London Sinfonia, and the cast of Puccini's late masterpiece, 'La Rondine'.

CONDCUTOR 1
CONDUCTOR 2
The Opera Holland Park Project was unprecedented as I drew the action on location directly in Japanese ink instead of pencil. This amazing ink is very fluid, hard to manipulate, it has a life of its own. I followed acclaimed conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren, the City of London Sinfonia orchestra and the cast of Opera Holland Park for 7 days during their rehearsals for a Puccini Production. It was incredibly intense, watching maestro Matthew’s passionate display, between a capella moments of acclaimed British soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn, and sometimes literally standing within the orchestra behind the horns or percussion. These vibrations, powerful emotions and dynamic movements, it engulfs you, goes straight through you. Only after 4/ 5 days of continued drawing, I felt I was getting somewhere, I was more familiar with the music, could anticipate motion, see repetitive gestures, and felt during some periods fully connected with Matthew’s performance. Looking back at the drawings there are a lot of misses but, for sure, some to me are jewels.

Maestro Matthew Kofi Waldren
Thereza Gevorgyan at Opera Holland park
Stephen Aviss at Opera Holland Park
First I concentrated on capturing the individual conductor and opera singers at work. I worked with ink using a bespoke calligraphy nib. This tool delivers large expressive mark-making which varies at the angle it touches the paper. This tool helps to approach my subject matter more freely, and emulates the impression of spontaneity more clearly.

ORCHESTRA BLUE 2
ORCHESTRA BLUE


Then I captured the orchestra in impressionistic movements. After that I grouped individual drawings into a composition that captured the fluidity of the music and intensity of the performance. See below video clip of me drawing in action.

AMIDT PUCCINI BLOG 2
AMIDT PUCCINI BLOG 3
AMIDT PUCCINI BLOG